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November 30, 2013

middle-earth challenge - here, at the end of all things

Well.  Not all things.  Just this thing.  Finally.



Day 24, being best one does simply meme thingermajigum.


And my personal favourite:

Day 25, being my favourite actor's quote.  

Best LOTR Commentary: Part 5

Day 26, being the character I pity the most.  Gollum, for the reasons I mentioned here.  I'm too lazy and done with this whole thing to write them again.

Day 27, being coolest visual effects.  How about how the fact that those hobbits aren't actually 3 feet tall, but for all 20,000 hours of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you can very well believe they are.  

Day 28, being most inspiring scene.  






Day 29, my LOTR collection.  Feast your eyes, precious.  

  
Plus, there's a 500 pc puzzle floating around somewhere.  And 4 bookmarks which I forgot to add to the picture.  Plus my ROTK character poster.  Not to mention Tales from the Perilous Realm, which I didn't put in because it's not, strictly speaking, Middle-earth.  As well as the extended editions in blu-ray.  And then my sister has The Hobbit Movie Guide.  My new collection of exceptionally awesome LOTR jewellery courtesy of this exceedingly fabjous queen of exceeding frabjousness.

Day 30, being best LOTR picture ever.  One does not simply pick a favourite picture, okay?  I'll just direct you to my pinterest board and my Tolkien tumblr tag.  Have fun with that, kids.


_______________________________________________________________________


Whoa.  I'm done.


Yes, I did.

November 28, 2013

the lengthy adventures of a tired and mostly-appeased whovian


In case you happened to not notice, November 23 was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who gracing the universe with it's existence.  And that's a pretty big deal, don't you know.  They even had a little shindig at Buckingham.  
And the special episode (The Day of the Doctor)!  Holy fudge monkeys.  


 I managed to talk my dad into taking my sister and I to one of the showings (it was playing in theatres, people.  In 3D.  I mean, it's not 12D.  There was a budget cut or something.  But the 100th anniversary episode is going to be in 12D.  All 57 Doctors.  Yowza.).  We were planning on going to the second last one on the 25th, but we didn't buy our tickets ahead of time (incredibly stupid, I must say.  But I didn't exactly know I was going much in advance, now did I?  Then again, I did somewhat underestimate the Whovian population of my area.), and if one wants to gets into a sold-out theatre (huh, never been in a sold-out theatre before), one had jolly well better be one of the people who sold it out.  So we had to go to the later (and last) one, which was nearly sold-out by then, as well.  


We then spent the next 2 and a half hours sorting/feeling/sniffing/stroking/making friends with books and frightening the staff at the nearby Chapters.  I'm pretty sure every employee in there asked us at at least twice if we were looking for something in particular    like a psychiatrist, maybe?  What?  People don't normally wear wilted celery to bookstores?  Tough luck, sweetie.  

I bought a copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth, in case anybody cares.


We did give a spiffing good go at costumes.  I had my red bow-tie necklace, Journey-to-the-Center-of-the-TARDS-Clara hair (weeeell...ish), TARDS blue nails ('twas a valiant attempt), and Martha Jones (eh...close enough) jacket (more or less).  
Sister of Mine opted for a TARDIS-blue shirt and a stalk of celery pinned to her jacket (a nice touch, didn't see much celery around...plenty of bow-ties, suspenders, and trench coats, with the occasional scarf.  Can't help regretting we picked such a small piece, though.  It shriveled itself down to a pitiful size before too long.).  

Finally, we got to line up to get in.  Only 45 more minutes to go.  A good oportunity to observe the cosplayers who really bothered to bother (my bow-tie and her celery...pathetic).  A couple of decent Nines.  A few cool Fours.  One or two Sevens.  Tens and Elevens without number.  One really nice Five.  Sadly, not many Rivers.  Or Sixes?  Ones?  Twos?  Threes?  Tsk.  The Whovians in my city are apparently slightly disappointing.  


I've never been in a theatre so full.  All the good seats were full within a minute of the doors being opened.  At least the front row seats were really comfy.  Big, padded armrests and everything.  If I'm going to break my neck, I want to do it in style and comfort, people.  

Also, wearing 3D glasses over top of your regular glasses is tricky at best.  Maybe they'll be improved by 6D.  Maybe you won't even need them at all by 9D.  

Strax gave us all a briefing on theatre rules and the methods of punishment that will be used on us if we break them.

Then Matt comes on, in typical Matt style, flapping his hands ("Do you think you could talk without flapping your hands around?" "Yes.  No.") and complaining about the lameness of 3D and telling us that there are Zygons about (an old shape-shifting, flesh-eating Who monster that's been out commission for 38 years - the 50th anniversary episode is full of them, FYI), but we're perfectly safe, because our glasses our equipped with a Zygon detection unit    just close one eye, look to person next to you, and if one of their eyes is dark, they're a Zygon (if you happen to have a pair of RealD glasses, go close one eye in the mirror).  "The important thing is not to panic!"  

And then David comes on, giving us a friendly warning to duck, as Matt's chin is a health hazard.  Nice one.

And then it started. 

>>--------> By the way, this is where it gets spoilery-woilery (no idea where I get this stuff from).  If thee hast yet to see it, I entreat thee to stop thineself ere ye spoil it for thee. <--------<<

Oh guys.  I'm pleased.  Quite pleased.  I wasn't sure if I was going to be.  I wasn't at all optimistic about there being a Secret Doctor.  Although, that may have been mostly because it messed up the numbers, so Nine was Ten, Ten was Nine, &c.  That upset my OCD tendencies immensely.  
But it works.  Really well.  The space between Eight and Nine created a perfect opportunity for Moffat to do something crazy like that.  He took it.  And he did it well.   

I liked the Warrior Doctor.  And him with Ten and Eleven (those two together...classic) was hilarious. 
 And Rose.  Or Bad Wolf girl.  I'm not sure if I should call her Rose, because she wasn't really Rose, was she?  Certainly not what I was expecting.  I don't think anybody was expecting that, right?  But she was pretty cool.  {I love a weapon of mass destruction with a conscience and sense of humour, don't you?}  
I really loved this episode and I thought it was really well done on the whole.  Very unexpected.  I wasn't at all sure how it was going to end, to be honest.  {I was like "Nah. That couldn't possibly happen, because that would change the show in a drastic sort of way."  And then then it happened and it was really awesome and whoa and I'm pretty sure Doctor Who is not going to be quite the same ever again.  I don't quite know what to think about that, but I'm thinking it's a happy thing.  I mean, whoa.  I just...wasn't really....expecting that.}  
I love the ending.  Happy.  What is this happy?  I don't know "happy".  

And it was nice to finally get our Elizabeth I questions addressed.  Lol.
Yeah, Doctor.  Just leaving like that after you married her would do it.  Wait, does that make you King of England?   And since Amy married Henry VIII that makes her your mother-in-law not once but twice.  Wow.  This show.  

I was bit confused at the beginning, though.  Considering how The Name of the Doctor ended, with Clara and the Doctor stuck in his timeline with a big old looming "TO BE CONTINUED", I didn't expect it to start with them both going about their normal business (as normal as normal business can be on this show).  It's obviously somehow after that, but...  Huh.  Whatever. 

I do have a complaint.  A couple, actually.  First off, Christopher Eccleston refusing to be in it.  Chris, you selfish goon.  Go sit in that corner and think about what you've done.
And second, I can't help but think that Moffat made it more of a celebration of him and his own work on Who instead of 50 years of the whole thing.  Ten, Eleven, and the Warrior Doctor are what it revolved around when there should have been more of the classic stuff.  The fact that Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy didn't even make a small appearance in it (apart from those clips in that one momentous scene), strikes me as stupid.  And what about Sean Pertwee (Jon Pertwee's son)?  He should've had a cameo, no?  
The story, he got.  But the other things that would've really made it The 50th Anniversary celebration of the one the greatest shows on TV ever were left out.  *shakes fist*  MOFFAAAAAT!  

Besides that though, it worked.  It worked very well indeed.  I am happy.  The beast has been appeased.  Weeeeeell.  Mostly.


Links of interest:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U3jrS-uhuo - The mini-prequel to The Day of the Doctor.  Watch it, people.  Gosh, I love Eight.  "Bring me knitting!"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01m3kfy - This is hilarious.  And Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen make an appearance, as well.  Good stuff.

http://www.hypable.com/2013/11/25/doctor-who-day-of-the-doctor-easter-eggs/ - Things you may have missed.  Like, River's pumps being a weapon of mass destruction.


Also, here's some Grumpy Ten to make your day extra bright.



November 25, 2013

you'll kill me? evidently there will be a line.


Wherein Nessie tries her very hardest to review Thor: The Dark World in a sensible and coherent manner.  
Spoilers in these thingermajigums {Spoilers, Sweetie!}.  Highlight at your peril.


The first Thor movie, though I liked it quite a lot, didn't really blow me away.  It's been a while since I've seen it, and I definitely need to see it again, but as far as I can remember, it doesn't rank among my all-time favourites.  
Thor: The Dark World, however, is another story.  Though it's at least 12 quid in a taxi away from perfect, wow.  Wow.

Of course, I'd been all psyched up for this movie since I heard it was coming out, and that Christopher Eccleston was going to play the villain.  Yeah.  I was excited.


After 15 minutes of previews (among them were Catching Fire, The Winter Soldier, and The Hobbit, so me and my sister just elbowed each other violently, as we do, and tried not to squeal like piglets lost in the woods) and what not, the comforting sound and flashing colours of flapping comic book pages, followed by darkness, and then Odin's voice briefing us on the beginning of the universe.  How unusually thoughtful of him.  We're then tossed smack into the middle of a battle between the dark elves (though one could mistake them for cybermen with nice hair) and Asgard.  Asgard won of course, and the last of the dark elves hid and had a really long nap.  Their weapon, the Aether (pronounced EETHER
, in case you care), which is like the tesseract, but red, floaty, a bit grabby, and apparently more powerful, is hidden deep, deep down in the...somewhere.  It's hidden, okay?  And safe, until Thor's Earth dwelling girlfriend, Jane Foster, gets sucked through a portal caused by the Nine Realms lining up, which is called the Convergence, which happens every 500 hundred years, explains Thor.  

Anyway, what are the chances of her ending up in exactly the same place that the Aether is hidden, and then absorbing some of it into her system, thus waking Malekith up from his beauty sleep and making her the universes most dangerous object?  The plot necessitates they be fairly high.
  
Well, stranger things have happened, I'm sure.  

Aside from the fact the plot sounds less than clever when you write it down (and that you probably won't get much out of it if you haven't seen both Thor and The Avengers), it wasn't too bad.  Certainly not the greatest Marvel has to offer     the plot was loosely bound where it could've/should've been a tight, sprawled slightly, and the pacing was almost choppy at times     but what can you do?


It's quite a bit different from the first one, tonally.  It's a lot more fun, to begin with.  More humour (there's a cameo during which I nearly died of popcorn-induced asphyxiation, and the way Loki sat there reading a book like there wasn't a battle raging two feet away from him was applause-worthy) and more memorable lines.

Where Kenneth Branagh did Thor with an elegant, almost Shakespearean style, Alan Taylor (of Game of Thrones fame) opts for a bigger, more fantasy-feel, on a technologically-grand scale and a massive scope bigger, I think, than any Marvel movie before it.

Another difference between this and the first one is
 how we see the Asgardians.  In Thor, they're gods, immortal and mighty.  Here, we get a more personal look at them.  We see them more as people, mortality and all.  I thought that was excellent.  {Until all of a sudden there was too much mortality, and a really fantastic character died and it broke my heart to an unexpected degree and the funeral made me want to leap off the Bifrost wailing out a dirge and I'm still upset and it just really hurts, okay?}

As for the characters...

Thor has improved quite a bit from Thor, and even The Avengers.  Except now, where he had faults before, he's almost, but not quite, too perfect.  He's no less likable than he ever was, but he seems almost without flaw.   And we never really get to see inside him like I hoped we would (and like we do with Loki).  But I still love him.  I really do.



I never really did like Jane a whole lot.  Maybe I just don't really like Natalie Portman a whole lot.  Either way, she's also improved a bit.  She's a much more central figure in the plot and actually has a reason for being in it, beyond merely for the sake of having a love interest.  
Still, there's something about her that prevents me from relishing her presence.


As expected, Darcy was hilarious, and even has her own unpaid intern whom she abuses shamelessly (at least until he tosses a car at some attacking dark elves).  Selvig's there, too.



We see more of Sif and the rest of Thor's battle buddies, so that's nice.  Sif is always cool, and the always-awesome Zach Levy (dearest Eugene Fitzherbert, and the nice guy who brought cushions to everyone at Comic Con) is recast as Fandral and definitely brings a little extra something-something to the character that Josh Dallas didn't.  


I had high hopes for Malekith, it being Christopher Eccleston and all.  He could've been quite excellent.  But...he wasn't.  He certainly glowers well.  He pulls off the dark side quite with skill.  He even speaks another language (which is, for any of you linguistics geeks, is supposedly based on Finnish).  But he wasn't memorable.  It was like he was really only in it to serve as a plot point.  Which is a shame.  He had potential.  Also, what did he want the world all dark for, anyway?  No one ever bothered to really explain that.  Like, was he just gonna sit there, or kill everybody, or what?  I don't really like the sun in my eyes either, but that's hardly a reason to go kill people.  Not on most days, anyway.

And then Odin, even on top of being Odin, fell a bit flat. 

But Frigga.  Wow.  I loved her.  She was magnificent, and her relationship with Loki was magnificent and her costumes were magnificent and her fight scene was magnificent {Weeeell, you know, apart from the fact that she died, and I died a little bit with her.}, and she was just magnificent.   


Which brings me to Loki.  





Okay.  Loki.  Just...wow.  Wow.  He was fantastic in Thor.  He was brilliant in The Avengers.  But in Thor: The Dark World?  O Loki, thou hast far exceeded thyself.  
I was never the head of his raging army of fans, okay?  I didn't root for him, even when I fully recognized that he was one of the best villains characters ever created.  

But in this movie?  I just...I don't...what...how...whoa.  Tom, if it were possible, has taken this character to a whole new level of excellence.  He has achieved something very close to perfection.  Everything from the slightest gesture and facial expression, to his relationship with Frigga was so perfect, it's just adtytg\';shadsdf.  I love how they understood each other.  


"He's not my father!"
"Then I am not your mother?"

And did anyone notice how their fighting styles were much the same?  You can just imagine Frigga teaching  young Loki to create illusions and beat up enemies, can't you?  I can.  {Holy Jotunheim, it hurts my heart!  A lot.  It hurts a lot, okay?  His reaction to her death.  Ugh.  My heart.  The broken furniture.  MY HEART.  And when Thor sees him like that.  Someone take these feelings away from me.  I don't need them.  I just don't.  *whimpers and collapses on floor in fearsome agony*

And his scenes with Thor.  Gosh.  The chemistry Chris and Tom have is amazing.  The dialogue in those scenes could've been a bit better, on Thor's side mostly, but they really do work so well off each other that it's not a huge deal.


 {And then when we all thought he betrayed Thor, but then didn't?  Oh my gosh.  My heart was bursting.  And when he died, it pretty much ripped my heart of chest again, but then he didn't?  Whoa.  By the way, where was Odin at the end?  I bet Loki put him in a cupboard.  Because that's what we do with things we don't like.  We put them in the cupboard.}

Of course, there is a downside to having someone who's not the main character stand out above everyone else, and that's is you don't want him to overpower it completely, he might not get enough screen-time.  Which he just doesn't.  Honestly, he needs his own movie.  I need his own movie.

The script, for the most part, is very good.  Although most of the really great lines are given to Loki, and Thor's seem to be almost starched and ironed and lacking something like imagination, I thought it's a pretty dashed good script.

The set design *choke* is spectacular.  Spectacular.  And when I say spectacular, I mean that they're some of the best sets I've ever seen.  Ever.  



^this is just concept art, but that's basically how it looks in the movie, I think.


The art *choke-wheeze*, the colours, *heavy breathing*, the lighting, THE ART.  THE GLORIOUS, GLORIOUS NORSENESS OF IT.  I don't think I've seen such great sets since LOTR.  

And don't even get me started on the costumes.  *gasps-wheezes-chokes*  THE COSTUMES.  Perfect.  The design and the colours and the style...just...fdawriop89ui;'lk,f.'jbv gyt...whoa.  So.  Good.  I mean, they're not LOTR or The Hobbit, but they aren't too far off.




And the soundtrack.  GUYS, THE SOUNDTRACK.  Composed by Brian Tyler, whom I've never heard of, needs a hug and a whole box of cookies for this soundtrack. Wonderful.  Just the right amounts of intense, stirring, rising, beautiful, and occasionally heartbreaking (the track Into Eternity is made of pain.).  So good.


In conclusion:  if you don't have a particular fondness for this sort of superhero/sci-fi/fantasy, action- and battle-laden, burdened-with-glorious-CG-type movie, and you watch it from a strictly objective viewpoint, you'll notice a somewhat sprawling plot that sounds almost ridiculous when you think about it too hard; some characters that could've gone deeper and some that were spot-on; a less than truly memorable villain (but hey     they can't all be Loki, can they?); a script that could've been done better, but not too bad; some humour and a couple of cameos you can't not love ("Can I have my shoe back?"); some pretty cool sets, decent costumes, and an adequate soundtrack.  

But if you do 
have a particular (and maybe slightly geeky) fondness for this sort of superhero/sci-fi/fantasy, action- and battle-laden, burdened-with-glorious-CG-type movie, more likely you'll notice that even though it's not lacking in faults, and it's not the most masterful Marvel movie to date, it's great.  Really great.  Some of the characters are just fantastic, and Loki has never been better     I don't even know how to convey to you how brilliant Loki is without keysmashes, caps lock, and keysmashed caps lock, which just wouldn't do for a character such as him.  Sets and costumes are gorgeous.  The plot was hardly award-winning, there wasn't enough Loki, and Malekith verged on dull, but the parts that are wonderful far outweigh and outnumber the parts that are less so.  By far. 

I loved it.  In a big way.  Easily on my list of favourite movies ever.  So much of it is just brilliant.  In overall quality, it's maybe 3 out of 5.  But for how much I loved it?  It's at least a 4.25.  Maybe that would change on a second viewing, but for right now, let me have my 4.25.

{On the ending:  Whoa...what?  Why did you just hand the Aether over to the creepy guyliner dude?  That wasn't smart.  And Loki.  Whoa....what?}

Heads up: this movie pulls an Avengers on us and gives not one but two post-credit scenes.  There were only about 6 other people besides me, my sister, and brother in the theatre, and half of them left before the first one, at which all three of us shook our heads and said "amateurs," and then the other people left before the last one (after 6 minutes of credits, I've never been so happy to see a bowl of soggy Shreddies), so I guess we were the only veteran Marvel movie goers there.  Brofist, anybody?  

Content-wise, s*** and h*** are used a couple of times, but it's mostly indistinct.  Also some kissing, and Selvig runs around Stonehenge naked (it's blurred).  There's violence, obviously.  And it's "emotionally intense and sad" in a couple scenes.  Pretty clean, overall.  It has a rating of PG-13.



November 23, 2013

middle-earth challenge - days 22 and 23 {my favourite songs}


{30 Day Middle-earth Challenge at 
Lianne Taimenlore & The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls}

Day 22, being favourite in-book song.  “At last, weary and feeling finally defeated, he sat on a step below the level of the passage-floor and bowed his head into his hands.  It was quiet, horribly quiet.  The torch, that was already burning low when he arrived, sputtered and went out; and he felt the darkness cover him like a tide.  And then softly, to his own surprise, there at the vain end of his long journey and his grief, moved by what thought in his heart he could not tell, Sam began to sing.
His voise sounded thin and quavering in the cold dark tower: the voice of a forlorn and weary hobbit that no listeningnorc could possibly mistake for the clear song of an Elven-lord.  He murmured old childish tunes out of the Shire, and snatches of Mr. Bilbo's rhymes that came into his mind like fleeting glimpses of the country of his home.  And then suddenly new strength rose in him, and hus voice rang out, while words of his own came unbidden to fit the simple tune.


In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white 
amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the stars farewell.”

Day 23, being favourite soundtrack song.  It was difficult to choose a favourite costume because these costumes are the best that were ever made.  It was difficult to choose a favourite location because these are the most because places I can think of.  It was difficult to choose a favourite character because these ae some the greatest characters I've ever met.  And it's difficult to choose a favourite song because this is possibly the best soundtrack ever composed (to me, at least).  I can pick one that really stands out in meaning to me, though.  Maybe that makes it my favourite.
The Black Gate Opens, from Return of the King.  It's a very visual piece, to me.  You can see and feel the darkness that threatens to overwhelm the light, but then you see the resistance that forms on the horizon, heroes standing up against the choking black.  Then you see the clouds part a little, revealing a single star.  A light that says hope is still there, and it's not in vain.  There's still some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.  The sun is going to rise again.  There is freedom and goodness to be won.  There is strength of heart that will not be crushed.  A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day!  It's like the entire story of LOTR, abridged and put into music.  



Of course, that's not my only favourite track.  The best tracks, in the order they're appearing on shuffle (that means in no particular order): 
 The Hobbit: AUJ 
• The Edge of the Wild

• Misty Mountains

• Song of the Lonely Mountain

• Dreaming of Bag End

• Over Hill

• Erebor 
• Moon Runes
• Old Friends

Fellowship of the Ring
• May It Be
• Council of Elrond/Aniron
• Many Meetings
• The Ring Goes South
• The Breaking of the Fellowship

The Two Towers
• Evenstar
• Breath of Life
• Samwise the Brave
• The King of the Golden Hall

Return of the King
• The Ride of the Rohirrim
• Andúril
• The Steward of Gondor
• The Grey Havens
• The Return of the King
• Minas Tirith
• Twilight and Shadow
• Into the West

And in case you haven't heard it yet, I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, which is going to be on the DOS soundtrack is fantastic.  Really, really exceptionally fantastic.  

November 21, 2013

middle-earth challenge - day 21


{30 Day Middle-earth Challenge at Lianne Taimenlore & The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls}

Day 21, being saddest death.  I feel inclined to say Boromir's.  (I'm thinking mainly of it in the movie.  I don't really remember it too well in the book.)  

Then I think of Théoden's, and I get confused.  

Not to mention Gandalf's "death," with The Bridge of Khazad-dûm (the last minute of it) playing, and everyone just devastated and lost and hopeless.  Cuts me deep.  

But..... I'm gonna say Beleg's.  He was the best and most loyal of friends.  He stuck beside Túrin through everything.  He risked his life to save him.  And then Túrin... oh, Túrin.  

{by Ted Nasmith}

I know you didn't mean to.  At all.  Had you been in possession of your senses, you might have killed yourself before anyone could force you to do it.  But maybe if you had ever bothered to control yourself at any time during your life, you might've been able to think that one through.  I blame you, obviously.  But I think you hate yourself enough without me pointing all ten of my accusing fingers in your ruddy direction.  But Beleg?  DARN IT, TÚRIN, YOU HALF-WITTED LESSER SON OF GREATER SIRES, IT WAS BELEG.  I'm just very upset with you right now.  And forever.  Leave me.  Go fight a dragon, would you?